Eating healthy is one of the biggest challenges. It’s hard to be able to make those great choices all of the time. So Chrys Peterson sat down with Kamala Tamirisa, MD, to learn more about why it’s important for us to make sure our diet is a heart-healthy one and some easy ways to start.
Chrys Peterson: There are some foods that we can incorporate into our diet pretty easily. What are some of the foods we should be looking to eat?
Kamala Tamirisa, MD: Very good question, so usually look for a low-calorie diet when you go out to eat. Then include whole grains in your diet every day. Fish, low-fat dairy, a variety of fruits and vegetables and protein.
We are eating common sense and keeping a lot of the fats and sugars out of our diets, we know that. What other things should we avoid?
As far as the diet goes, things to avoid would be a diet that is rich in trans fat, saturated fat and all the soda and the pop with the sugar content.
And even those diet sodas aren’t good for us, right?
So we’ve got to get more water into our diet, too. Tell me, how does staying hydrating and drinking water all day help you heart?
Basically you are not overloading the heart with a huge amount of unwanted calories. The larger the BMI or the body weight, the heart has to work harder to supply blood to the body. So by eating healthy, drinking more water, you are reducing your overall body weight, which will help the heart work less hard.
So drinking water would be one great thing we can do. I think we are all on this “grab and go” mentality. We pick up food where we can because we’re so busy and life is so hectic.. What are some of the ways we can make the best choices when eating out or going to a fast food restaurant?
Instead of French fries, choose an apple. Or, instead of a sugar carbonated drink (pop, soda), have a low-fat dairy milk or choose water, are just a few examples of eating healthy.
We know that this starts when you’re young. The way you eat when you’re young progresses with you in life. So how can we as parents really set a good example for our kids about eating?
Making a calendar, whoever is the main chef at home, come up with a variety of everything–the fruits, vegetables, whole grains, everything we talked about so its nicely spread out. There’s a variety in the diet and if they see the parents are making the effort, have kids cook with you, have them make a plan with the weekly meals. If the parent is involved with it, eating healthy, it’s but natural for the kid to copy them and mimic them and do what the parents do.
Helping them think of it as an adventure is kind of a good thing for kids too, trying new things. I used to take my daughter to the grocery store and let her pick one new fruit or vegetable that she hadn’t tried and we’d go home and try it. And some of those were better than others, but it makes them adventurous! We know that we should avoid those fats, we know that we should be looking for more fruits and vegetable and fish in our diets that will keep our hearts healthy.